“‘I believed therefore, I spoke,’ we also believe, Therefore, also we speak.” 2 Corinthians 4:13
The Christian life of the Apostle Paul is a story of grace, glory, and suffering. God worked miracles in and through Paul as He used him to speak the truth in love, plant churches, and lead multitudes to faith in Christ.
As Paul presented the truth of man’s utter sinfulness and the Savior’s sacrifice and victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave, many people had their feathers ruffled. In fact, both Jews and Gentiles alike often reacted to the gospel message with violence. Paul was beaten and imprisoned on numerous occasions for preaching the truth and obeying the Lord. His unwavering commitment to Christ and His Word resulted in his beheading under the persecution of Emperor Nero.
IS THERE ANY WAY TO AVOID THE SUFFERING?
Why did Paul receive such brutal treatment? Could he have done anything to avoid all the suffering? Yes! He could have easily quit preaching the unadulterated truth. He could have dialed down his message to tickle the ears and fit in with the sinful culture. He could have bowed to the demands of Rome and played ball with the corrupt Jewish religious leaders. He could have turned his back on his Lord and his calling and saved himself a ton of grief and pain. He could have wilted under the pressure, but he did not! He truly believed that Jesus died and rose again, therefore he spoke the truth without stutter, stammer, apology, or equivocation. He was faithful to Jesus Christ all the way to the finish line, regardless of the circumstances and the backlash. Aren’t you glad?
THE DAY IN WHICH WE LIVE
I believe we are living in the last of the last days. The signs of Christ’s soon return are all around us. One of the telltale signs is the hatred we will receive for standing up for the Lord and His Word, especially preaching it from the pulpit without compromise or apology.
America used to value Christianity and uphold the authority of the Word of God—but those days are gone. Today, faithful preachers and followers who lovingly hold to the clear teachings of Scripture are vilified, mocked, scorned, marginalized, and attacked. Can physical violence be far behind? I think not.
What is the answer? Should we water down the message to make it more palatable to a sin-sick world? Never! If we really believe, we will speak up and speak out, just as 2 Corinthians 4:13 states. And if we grow silent in the face of persecution, moral decay, and social lunacy, did we really ever believe at all?
Let me encourage you to keep holding up the banner of truth. If we truly believe, we cannot help but speak. Those fighting for the right to glory in sin and depravity will never find peace and happiness. Sin always brings guilt, shame, death, and despair, regardless of how many people argue otherwise. As my favorite preacher, Adrian Rogers, always said, “Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it … and right is right, even if no one is doing it.”
May we be found faithful to lovingly stand up and speak up for the Lord, all the way to the end.
Dr. Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Texarkana, TX